In case the general mess that is our offensive line isn't enough, this report lends support to the idea that we should use a first round pick to select one of the many highly touted OTs in the next April's draft.
Great Blue North: Pro Bowl Roster Report
PRO BOWL ROSTER REPORT
Anyone wondering what all the fuss about the NFL draft is only has to take a look at players named to this year's Pro Bowl teams. Granted, the Pro Bowl voting isn't 100% science with players reputations sometimes counting as much, if not more, that actual on-field production. Still, the Pro Bowl is a reasonably accurate barometer of who the best players in the league are at this time. And what that barometer tells us is that just about all the top players in the league were indeed drafted and that most came to their teams as premium picks.
In fact, a full 92% of all positional players selected to this year's Pro Bowl teams, were drafted. Overall, 70 of the 76 players named to the Pro Bowl this year at regular positions were drafted. In fact, over half of this year's AFC and NFC Pro Bowl positional players - 40 of 76 or 53% - were first round picks and 83% of all positional players named to this year's Pro Bowl, were first day picks selected in the first three rounds. The number of Pro Bowlers who were drafted, however, is down somewhat from 73 last year, however, that number may have been a bit of an anomaly as the number of undrafted Pro Bowlers was around this year's total (6) earlier in the decade. In 2001, for example, 7 undrafted position players made the Pro Bowlthat year. Also note that all this year's undrafted Pro Bowlers play offense, while every defensive player selected was drafted coming out of college.
And if recent Pro Bowl teams are any indication, teams looking for a quality OT in the near future shouldn't wait much past the first round to grab one. This year, for example, all 6 Pro Bowl OTs were first round selections, a trend that has persisted in recent years. On the other hand, OG and C look more like the lunch-bucket type positions they are with just 3 Pro Bowlers coming to the league as first-round picks. As well, two of this year's 6 undrafted free agents were OG Brian Waters of Kansas City and C Jeff Saturday of Indianapolis.
Somewhat surprisingly, because the position had been something of an afterthought in the opening round on draft day in recent years, the position with the next highest ratio of first rounders after the OTs on this year's Pro Bowl teams is at RB. Indeed, 5 of the 6 Pro Bowl RBs this year were first-round picks, while the 6th - the Giants' Tiki Barber was an early second rounder.
Meanwhile, two other positions - DT and CB - each had 4 of 6 Pro Bowl position players who were former opening round selections. In contrast, only two of 6 Pro Bowlers at both DE and safety were first-round selections, however, every player going to Hawaii at both those positions was a first-day draft pick. At the same time, half of the QBs, WRs and LBs going to the Pro Bowl this year are former first-round picks.
As has often been the case in recent years, the QB lineup headed to the Pro Bowl is something of a mixed bag. Indeed, while 3 of 6 Pro Bowl QBs are former 1st round picks; indeed, all three - the Colts' Peyton Manning, Cincinnati's Carson Palmer and Michael Vick of Atlanta were all the 1st player selected overall in their respective draft years - the other three Pro Bowl QBs this year include a pair of 6th rounders - Tom Brady of New England and Seattle's Tim Hasselback - and Jake Delhomme of Carolina who was an undrafted free agent.